May 5, 2016

Love the Muscles You’ve Got: Thoughts on Self Love

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Building the perfect physique is never ending. It honestly is something I love so much about bodybuilding as a sport. There is always something to work on, and always something to improve. The next goal is right around the corner.

I am kind of a goal setting junkie. I am already planning my next goal before I even finish the first one. #truestory. So weight lifting really is the perfect sport for me because of all the endless goal setting which I love!

We are in a day in age where “bigger is better.” And the fitness industry is no different. But the never ending goal setting and unrelenting quest for more can make us get to the point where we feel exhausted, and feel “not enough.”

So how do we truly appreciate where we are in our own personal journey when we are constantly bombarded with images of seemingly impossible physiques, and people who do “better” and have “more”? How do we love the muscles we’ve got, and keep pushing forward towards our goals, when it’s so easy to crawl in a hole of despair and wave the white flag of defeat and quit all together?

Getting to a place of self love and not focusing on a “bigger, better, best” mentally really just comes from a place of positivity.

Focusing on positivity, changes our perception of our world around us and ourselves. And celebrating even the smallest fitness accomplishment can make a huge difference in our abilities to love ourselves through our journey and imperfections.

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Here are my thoughts on how to bring self love into your workouts:

Focus on non physical improvements, instead of physical ones. Can you run that mile faster? Can you lift more? Do you feel happier, healthier, stronger? All of those things deserve a little celebration, and the excitement of those accomplishments can push us towards new and harder goals.

Instead of thinking about what your body isn’t, think about what it is. Our bodies are amazing and are capable of so many things. They allow us to be strong, be gentle, show love, show anger. Our bodies carry us through our days and help us to see and appreciate the world around us.

Our bodies lift incredibly heavy things, muscle grow where we ‘will’ them too, and get stronger where we need it. It is truly incredible when you think about it. So start appreciating all the unbelievable things your body can do for you, instead of focusing on what it can’t.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else but YOU! Which is easier said than done…I get it. But rather than focusing on the image of the “perfect” body, or what you envision the “perfect” body to be. Focus on your improvements and accomplishments. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses.

Honestly there is no way around it. You will have your body for the rest of your life. No matter how much you wish it, you won’t have Sally’s legs, or Jane’s arms…it just isn’t physically possible. So start appreciating how your body is shaped and what your natural strengths are.

Learn to embrace the strong points in your body, and not dwell so much on the weaker areas. Because believe me everyone has “problem spots”…so you are not alone. You want to improve your weaker areas…go for it! Improve away. But instead of wishing for what you don’t have, embrace what you do.

Look back to see how far you’ve come. I am a big believer of progress pictures. Pictures show you what the scale can’t. Body shape changes, and muscle growth are often hard things to see on the scale. So those visual changes are fun to see when looking back at progress pictures. It helps remind us of how far we’ve come.

Keep positive words running through your head. Remember you are good enough! You have all the strength in the world inside of you. Stop beating your head against the wall with thoughts of not being good enough, and not being capable enough.

We all get negative thoughts from time to time. When I get negative thoughts, I try to make a conscious effort to stop them. I replace them with more realistic positive thoughts. I ask myself if what I am feeling is really “true,” because often times it’s this made up negativity in our head that has nothing to do with reality.

Be able to detach perfection from improvement. Perfection is not a reality…repeat after me…perfection is not a reality! Don’t get caught up on being so perfect that you are not celebrating where you are and how far you’ve come. Perfection is often the one thing that takes the joy out of improvement, and takes the celebration out of accomplishments. In the end perfection is a dream crusher, and keeps us tightly wound up in one spot, never allowing us to improve or change. So honestly perfection has no place in our daily lives.

Don’t quit! I mean quitting is not helping anyone, especially you. When you quit or give up you are selling short your potential to do great things and resigning yourself to a life of “what if’s” and “I wish I would have’s.” Sometimes improvement happens so slowly which makes it hard to notice. So don’t sell yourself short on your amazingness, and keep at it!

In the end, loving where we are in our journey while still pushing forward towards our ultimate bigger goals is such a push and pull of dreams and reality. If we can truly get a handle on striving for more while being positive and grateful for where we currently are on our path to the future, we are truly loving ourselves where we are at.

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Comments

  1. Great post!!! I really could relate to everything you said. I agree that it’s totally addicting to want to reach the next goal with working out. Progress pictures are super important. A lot of times I’ll think there’s nothing different in the photo, until I line it up next to an older one! This is also why I journal everything. When I feel down, I can look back and say – I increased my time by 2 minutes or my weight by however much.

    I’m trying to take more of a long-term approach to my goals lately – it’s not about this week or this month… it’s about the sustained effort over the long-term that I’m hoping will get me the results I want!

  2. Loved this post. I really needed to read what your thoughts were on comparing. It’s like somewhere in the back of my minD I know not to do that to myself, yet it’s so difficult. But reading it put the way you do, that I need to appreciate what I’ve been given, really helped me wrap my mind around it.
    I’ve always been interested in ancient languages, and I was thinking about the work perfect, in your post. Thought this might add to your thought process. The original meaning of perfect in Latin or Hebreward actually means, “facing the right direction”. It’s only been later that we’ve turned it into its current, almost unattainable meaning. It’s a thought that helps me!

    • Momonthemove says:

      Mandy I’m so glad it resonated with you! I looooove the original meaning of perfect! Wow, thank you so much for sharing. Really puts it into perspective for sure!! Thank you so much for sharing